In the United States the average kid (age 8-18) spends 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen or on the phone. To counter sedentary living patterns, national physical activity guidelines for youth have been developed. The guidelines call for at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day for children and teens. The guidelines are based on the amount of physical activity necessary to promote good fitness, health, and wellness. Only 29 percent of high school students meet the 60-minute daily guideline and 14 percent don’t do any physical activity that causes them to breathe hard or that increases heart rate on any day during the week.
In a previous column I discussed the PACER, a test of cardiovascular fitness that is part of the national youth physical fitness test battery (FITNESSGRAM). FITNESSGRAM, was developed at the Cooper Institute in Dallas and is now offered as a cooperative program with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition (PCFSN) and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD). In addition to assessing cardiovascular fitness, the FITNESSGRAM Test Battery includes tests of muscle fitness, flexibility, and body composition.
As the stores take down the Valentine’s Day decorations and hang up shamrocks, you might be at home smiling at that fantastic flat-screen TV you bought for the big game. Between the holiday sales and the Super Bowl, prices couldn’t have been better. And the technology is, well, just so cool. The choices make my head spin and make TVs just a few years old seem like no comparison at all.
Cardiovascular fitness is generally considered to be the most important component of health-related physical fitness. Other commonly used terms for cardiovascular fitness include cardiorespiratory endurance, aerobic fitness, and aerobic capacity. The national youth physical fitness test (FITNESSGRAM), developed at the Cooper Institute in Dallas, is now offered as a cooperative program with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition (PCFSN) and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD). The recommended test for youth in the FITNESSGRAM battery is called the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER).
Don’t tell anyone, but I am old enough to remember things like cooking before microwaves, and being excited about really, really slow video games. I remember people smoking on planes and a time before the term “designated driver.”
Parents of school-aged kids may remember taking a physical fitness test that involved running the 50-yard dash and performing a zig-zag run (shuttle run) along with other tests such as the pull-up. Grandparents may remember throwing a softball, running or walking 600 yards, or doing the flexed arm hang. Over time youth physical fitness tests have changed. Now the national test, called FITNESSGRAM, produced by the Cooper Institute in Dallas and co-sponsored by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition and the American Alliance for Health Physical Education and Recreation, includes test items that relate to health rather than sports-related test items included in earlier tests.
Social media creates such an interesting window into the world. Yes, it tells us we’re obsessed with dancing baby animals, but it also gives us a look at the better side of ourselves. It tells us what we share, and apparently, being the victim of a bully is a top shared experience.
Unmotivated? Poor grades? Lazy?
Thousands of insured children who may have received vaccines from county health departments are now being encouraged to go to their family doctors for their shots.
From elementary to college students, many use backpacks to help carry everything from books to food and more throughout the school day, but could those backpacks be putting our children’s bodies in harm’s way? Backpacks can actually be especially taxing on the back, neck and shoulders if worn incorrectly.
For youth, national guidelines for physical activity call for 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. The most recent survey indicates that less than 50 percent of youth get 60 minutes of activity five days a week and about one quarter get 60 minutes of activity on all days of the week. Fourteen percent are totally sedentary — have no days during the week when they get 60 minutes of activity. One third of youth spend three or more hours a day playing video or computer games that are not schoolwork related and one third spend three or more hours a day watching television.
When performing a skill such as in batting in softball or baseball, providing feedback (information) can help a person to make corrections and improve performance. But too much feedback or information can lead to “paralysis by analysis.” Paralysis by analysis refers to the inability to focus on the general performance of the skill because of excessive information.
As a child, I never appreciated that old cliché, “Silence is golden.” I thought silence was boring, and preferred music, or the sounds of my friends chatting away.
Most Americans are aware of the health benefits of physical activity. The evidence indicates that regular exercise reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, various forms of cancer, and depression.
Today, many children are being suspended from school or placed in a self-contained classroom due to behavior issues. Behavior issues can occur for many different reasons. Children may try to use inappropriate behavior to get attention in the classroom, or there may be un met academic needs that are not being address. If parents and teachers provide the desired attention and/or avoid punishing the bad behavior, the inappropriate behavior will be reinforced and will likely continue.
We all need a quiet dinner with adult company once in a while, but it can seem impossible to find both the time on your calendar, and the right sitter to care for your children.
Is your child acting out in school? Does he or she hate to go to school? Will he or she break into a tantrum when they have to read or write?
I am one of those annoying people - you know, the ones who love the fresh start of a new year, and always make resolutions. The clean slate, the new possibilities, it's exciting to me. I've seen the eye rolls and heard the deep sighs of those who think it's silly, but I find turning the calendar from one year to the next invigorating.
FITNESSGRAM, a national youth fitness test battery, includes tests of four different parts of health-related physical fitness: body composition, cardiovascular fitness, muscle fitness, and flexibility. National guidelines recommend daily physical activity of 60 minutes or more to build all parts of fitness and to achieve other health benefits. Activities of all types from the Physical Activity Pyramid for Kids should be performed. Moderate activity (Step 1) contributes to general health benefits. Vigorous aerobic activity (Step 2) and vigorous sports and recreation (Step 3) build cardiovascular fitness. Muscle fitness exercises (Step 4) build muscle fitness, including strength and muscular endurance. Flexibility exercises (Step 5) build flexibility, including long muscles and good range of joint movement.
I love having house guests. I'm blessed with the kind of family you sincerely want to have at your house at the holidays. Having the time to rest and catch up with them is one of the best parts of December.
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